By Dr. M.Y. Elmi
While in one part of the globe , Astronomers are struggling to discover gravitational waves which would led to the understanding of the beginning and evolution of the universe into the cornucopia of galaxies and stars . While people like Musk the visionary founder of Tesla has plans for “hyperloop” that could transport people between San Francisco and Los Angeles nearly 400 KMs in less than one hour and hopes to colonize Planet Mars and eventually send 80000 people in a scheme page called “philanthropic”.
On the another side of the globe , Wajir County, the County Government is unable to find solution to proper and scientific solution to human waste disposal in the Township. The capital City of the Government of Wajir County is still using the medieval bucket latrine system with poor collection and disposal mechanism to the extent that there is disgusting and nauseating sight of flooding stool in every house hold and the fresh aroma of rural the city is replaced by smell of shit. The planned sewer system where millions of tax payer was used becomes a white elephant due to corruption and immunity.
The main water source of Wajir township is shallow well which are contaminated with human waste. The leading cause of morbidity and maternity particularly among the children who are under five years of age in Wajir County as indicated in the reports from health facilities are diarrheal diseases which is largely caused by the contamination of the drinking water. Poor water quality continues to pose a major threat to human health. Diarrhoeal diseases alone amount to an estimated 4.1 % of the total DALY global burden of disease and are responsible for the deaths of 1.8 million people every year (WHO, 2004).
It was estimated that 88% of that burden is attributable to unsafe water supply, sanitation and hygiene. The new emerging evidence for long-term consequences of early childhood diarrhea on growth, physical and cognitive development effects may translate into costly impairment of human potential and productivity. The estimated direct medical, direct non medical, and indirect (productivity losses) costs borne by households due to diarrhea in Wajir County is immense.
While battle for proper human waste management is lost in Wajir County, the Governor and his entire government are in their comfort with modern state of the art western flash toilet system in their residences oblivious and indifferent to the diseases burden and discomfort of the common people of Wajir County. Leaders should demonstrate their appetitude for innovation, ingenuity and professional expertise to contribute to the solutions of social perennial problems particularly in this era of devolution where leaders have massive resources under their disposal.
Dr. Elmi is the Director, Garissa Campus, Mount Kenya University.